In the age of “generation Obama,” community service organizations and charities are gaining momentum in their efforts to promote and fund a number of good causes. These days, there is an ever-growing call for action on many fronts”both mainstream and unconventional”and the music industry is responding. New artists are emerging as advocates in support of charitable work, human rights and similar causes everyday, a positive trend that can bolster both career and personal beliefs.
One such organization benefiting from industry support is called 5 Rights Inc. 5 Rights exists to try and promote “a local, sustainable culture of human rights.” These rights are protected by a United Nations bill and are the basis of the organization’s goals. We caught up with 5 Rights representative Jeff Lipman, who has worked closely with community-minded OurStage band the Adam Ezra Group. When asked about the advantages of an artist supporting a cause, Lipman agreed with the idea that musicians can raise awareness by encouraging fans to take an interest in a particular cause. This is especially important for the 5 Rights organization since basic human rights is a global topic that needs greater awareness. Although 5 Rights doesn’t focus solely on the music industry as a partner in their cause, they do plan on organizing some human rights festivals, utilizing music as a central point of the event.
When talking about 5 Rights and the music industry, it’s almost a given to discuss Calling All Crows. This is an organization that was started by Chad Stokes (Dispatch, State Radio) and his activist partner, Sybil Gallagher. Per their Website, Calling All Crows is dedicated to mobilizing musicians and fans to promote human rights.” We spoke to Matt Wilhelm, Co-Operator of Calling All Crows, to get his opinion on bands’ roles in charitable organizations. He agrees that a band can bring a new level of awareness and passion to a cause, beginning with the community of fans that surrounds the artist. But Wilhelm also feels that it works both ways. If a band can be a catalyst for activism, then a band can also benefit from the community of fans they gain from supporting a particular cause. In his words, “doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive.” Bands like State Radio and Dispatch have certainly supported this idea in the past as evidenced by the droves of fans coming out to hear both their music and their messages of political, environmental and social activistism.